A new pile of compost, left, at the Whitehorse landfill waits to be added to the aerated static windrow piles — the darker piles in the background — on July 4, 2019. Whitehorse city council voted to award a new landfill operations management contract and related operating budget amendments at the regular council meeting on June 29. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

New contract approved for landfill management

Norcope Construction Group will be responsible for “daily operations” at the landfill

Whitehorse city council voted to award a new landfill operations management contract and related operating budget amendments at the regular council meeting on June 29.

According to the report from administration, a request for tender was prepared to find a contractor to “supply staff and equipment to fulfill the duties required for the daily operations” of the city’s Son of War Eagle Waste Management Facility including burial, compaction and cover of solid waste, maintaining stockpiles, burial of dangerous waste, construction of service roads and tipping pads, litter cleaning, and snow clearing and removal.

The contract will be awarded to Norcope Construction Group, which had the lowest bid for the five-year contract — the contract begins on July 1, 2020 and ends on June 30, 2025 — at a rate of $814,149 per year, excluding GST.

The previous contract, in place since 2015, had a yearly value of $467, 928 and the new contract value is much higher due to the inclusion of a number of line items that are provisional, meaning they may not be exercised or exercised only partially.

Coun. Dan Boyd asked administration to clarify that the new expanded scope of the contract didn’t necessarily mean that spending would be as high as allowed in a given year.

Peter O’Blenes, director of infrastructure and operations, explained the previous contract didn’t adequately account for expenses related to the landfill and the required territorial permitting.

Things like covering waste, O’Blenes said, weren’t line items in the earlier contract and therefore the related expenses were difficult to track. With the new contract, keeping records of those types of expenses should be much easier.

“This contract is up to the maximum amount of what waste management feels that we would need to do to be in compliance with (the Yukon government permit for the landfill,)” O’Blenes said.

Coun. Jan Stick asked how much of the waste going to the facility was coming from outside the city and who pays the costs associated with that waste.

O’Blenes said approximately seven to eight per cent by weight of the waste at the facility is from outside the city and that a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Yukon government is in place leaving the territory responsible for that portion of the bill.

Boyd also asked what kind of increase in tipping fees residents could expect to see, given the increased costs associated with the contract.

Administration indicated it is too early for specifics, but that a 10 per cent increase for tipping fees would be a “decent estimate.”

In addition to the motion asking administration to award the contract, council also passed a motion to amend and increase the operating budgets for 2020, 2021 and 2022 to account for the increased costs.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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